It's season's greetings time
In case you haven't noticed, it's Christmas (the year done quick eeh?)
The weather has changed (I know because my sinuses are acting up), the stores are having sales (how big the discount is another matter) and the Salvation Army people are out with their kettles (give generously please). The typical Jamaican might tell you they are looking forward to ham,
sharing time with family they haven't seen in a while, ham, sorrel, decorating the house, ham, watching the
various Christmas light displays, and did I mention ham by any chance?
One thing yours truly always looks forward to is the 'Greetings From Across The World'. Admittedly because of my cable TV watching, I've missed most of them the last few years. But every year, I try to catch even a few. What always amuses me is the twanging. I'm not talking about those who went over in the '70s and '60s. By now, they should sound like they've lived overseas for a while (although I know other Caribbean nationals who haven't lost their 'sound').
The ones who crack me up all the time are the ones who we cheekily dub 'banana boat' or 'yardies'. They are unmistakable - they're the ones who give shout-outs to people apparently without real names.
"Want to big up Gerry Blacks, Hunchie, Macka Bless, Tony Hype, Sarge, Bubba and di whol' a di Mad Man Crew from Bush Ends; respect!" I'm pretty certain (though with my memory nothing's certain) I heard one salute his brethren by saying thus: "This is none other than the one Juckiejam." Nobody believes me however, so I need proof. The ones I feel slightly sorry for are the grandparents who have a few too many little ones to name, but try to do it anyway. So they'll be halfway through the greeting and forget the other names. Their 'mi nuh memba' symptoms are easy to spot; the shifting of the eyes and the prolonged pause between names are dead giveaways.
"Greetings to Mary, Neville, Ashley (then looooong pause before finally coming up with) and to all the rest." Others who are quite old and sending greetings to people they grew up with (aka equally old folks), I wonder if any of the people they are sending greetings to are even still alive, much less aware enough to appreciate it. By the way, how many times have we heard any of them saying they are going to be sending down some British pounds or US dollars? Most of the ones I've seen stay clear of the topic. Understandably I suppose.
One final thing I always note, is how cloaked up they seem to be. And that makes me appreciate Jamaica even more. Yep, nothing like a nice, frozen greeting from Brixton, Birmingham or Bronx to remind me of why I love JA. As Josey Wales sang: "Don't waan nuh visa, fi go inna nuh freeza." Lata!
• Send me your greetings at firstname.lastname@example.org